I have received numerous representations from people on all sides of the argument. I recently addressed the General Synod of the Church of England on this matter in York, and I have placed a copy of my statement in the Library.
The legislation completed its Report stage at York. It now has to go to all the 44 dioceses of the Church of England. If a majority of them agree, it will go back to General Synod, probably in 2012. If two thirds of each of the General Synod’s houses agree to it, I would then expect it to come here to the Ecclesiastical Committee and this House in 2013, and if this House agrees, we could see the appointment of the first woman bishop in 2014.
As someone who considered entering the ministry but realised I had too many vices and not enough virtues, may I commend the life and ministry of women in the Church, but also ask my hon. Friend whether he agrees that the first appointment of a female bishop, which will undoubtedly happen soon, must be on merit rather than political correctness?